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©Jason Hall

Chapter 14:12-23 (ESV)

Posted on February 04, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 14:12-23 (ESV) - And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.

“If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they ravage it, and it be made desolate, so that no one may pass through because of the beasts, even if these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate.

“Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, Let a sword pass through the land, and I cut off from it man and beast, though these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be delivered.

“Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.

“For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast! But behold, some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; behold, when they come out to you, and you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it. They will console you, when you see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, declares the Lord God.”

Question to consider: According to the passage, who brings famine, pestilence, wild beasts, and the sword?

Now that God has made accusations against Israel and demonstrated proof of their idolatry and lies, He renders a judgment against them by four disastrous acts: famine, wild beasts, sword and pestilence. Remember that the number four symbolizes the totality of something, even if it is being used in a literal sense. Four seasons span the totality of a year, the four directions of a compass span the globe, and these four judgments span the entirety of the land of Israel– including the city of Jerusalem with its fortified and faithless walls. I say “faithless” because Israel traded God’s hedge of protection for a stronghold of mud bricks covered in whitewash.

These judgments were the four that are mentioned in Leviticus 26. I recommend reading this chapter as it spoke of the blessings of obedience and the punishment for disobedience to the Law. By the time Israel was exiled from the land of Israel, God had given them centuries of opportunities to repent, and these judgments escalated in intensity with the purpose of turning people back to God.

Singled out in this passage are three men who remained faithful during times of judgment. Noah and his family were saved in the midst of the global judgment. Job was delivered from a personal trial which was so great it exposed the faithlessness of those around him and took the lives of his sons and daughters. Daniel was Ezekiel’s contemporary who interceded in prayer for Israel, repenting of their sin against God. Daniel would never have sons and daughters or even marry. Since he served the king as chief of the Magi, it’s possible that he was made a eunuch. It’s also possible that he was never given access to godly Israelite women and refused to marry a pagan.

Had Daniel fathered children, they would have been judged by their own righteousness and not spared judgment merely for being the sons and daughters of a righteous man. So it is with us today. Each of us is faced with our own sin and has the opportunity to cling to Christ alone for salvation.

I’ve heard pastors say that God is love and would never send things like disease or famine, but I think passages like the one for today say the opposite. God loved the world enough to offer reconciliation through His Son, but even disease or famine or sword which can be engineered by men is authored and used by God to administer judgment and offer forgiveness to those who repent. The death rate is 100%, and as Paul told the Areopagus, it is God who determines the times and places in which we live. (Acts 17:26)


Dear heavenly Father, You alone are worthy of our praise, and You alone determine the number of our days. Please teach us to use that time wisely in service to You and our neighbor in Jesus’ name. Amen.